METLIFE BROADENS DISTRIBUTION OF DEFERRED INCOME ANNUITY THROUGH METLIFE INVESTORS; RENAMES PRODUCT
NEW YORK, December 11, 2007
MetLife, the No. 1 variable annuity provider in the U.S. (according to VARDS based on sales premiums as of September 30, 2007), today announced the availability of Longevity Income Guarantee (LIG), MetLife’s retail deferred income annuity, through MetLife Investors, the company’s independent distribution arm.
LIG, previously known as Personal Income Builder and commonly referred to in the marketplace as a version of longevity insurance, is designed to help clients maximize, protect and guarantee income for life in retirement.
"As people are preparing to transition into retirement, they are starting to talk with their financial advisors about how to generate income that will last a lifetime, instead of the usual discussions about how best to grow their assets," said Elizabeth M. Forget, senior vice president, MetLife, who is responsible for marketing and product management for MetLife Investors. "LIG is an exciting addition to our suite of annuity offerings to third party distributors, because it offers clients the ability to ‘buy’ guaranteed lifetime income today that will begin at a certain date in the future. Knowing how much income they’ll receive and when they’ll receive it helps clients establish an income planning time horizon so they know how long their assets need to last. This can help clients and their advisers plan more efficiently."
"LIG offers individuals a personal financial ‘safety net’ for later in their retirement years by working in unison with an overall retirement strategy," said Lisa S. Kuklinski, vice president and actuary, Individual Annuities, MetLife. "A client’s purchase payments turn into a guaranteed income stream during retirement to help them weather market fluctuations and longevity risk – the risk of living longer than expected in retirement."
LIG has been offered through MetLife’s career sales force (MetLife and New England Financial) since 2004.
Kuklinski added that the reason for the name change from Personal Income Builder to Longevity Income Guarantee was simple. "As a company we have been educating people about longevity risk and how it magnifies other key factors facing all individuals in retirement, such as inflation or escalating healthcare costs. By incorporating longevity in the name, we are more closely aligning a solution to offset the risk in people’s minds."
LIG is available in two versions – Flexible Access Version and Maximum Income Version (previously known as Standard Version and Retirement Income Insurance, respectively). Either version can be funded through a lump-sum payment or incremental purchase payments (a minimum of $2,500 initial purchase payment with $500 subsequent payments).
Flexible Access Version (FAV) offers a death benefit to named beneficiaries should the owner die before taking the LIG income. Beneficiaries will receive a death benefit equal to purchase payments compounded at 3% annually. FAV also includes current income options to suit individual needs, such as payments for life and that of a spouse or partner, or payments for life guaranteed for a specified number of years, in addition to liquidity in the form of a one-time partial or full withdrawal from the contract within 60 days following the income start date. The income option can be selected when income starts, and is not locked in on the issue date.
With FAV, clients can begin to take income after a two-year waiting period, and then between age 50 to 85. Like the income option, the income start date is not locked in on the issue date. The client can start income whenever the need arises, subject to the above constraints. For example, an individual at age 55 makes a lump sum payment of $50,000 into a FAV annuity contract with an income start age of 85. By age 85, the annual income amount will total $50,695. If the person took the income earlier at age 75, the annual amount would be $15,754.
The Maximum Income Version (MIV), MetLife’s pure longevity insurance because it does not offer a flexible start date, death benefit, or liquidity, is an option for individuals who can meet their retirement needs before age 85, but do not need a death benefit or a flexible withdrawal option within their annuity contract. An individual at age 55, for example, makes a lump sum payment of $50,000 into an MIV annuity contract with an income start age of 85. By age 85, the annual income amount will total $72,496.
Future income payments are based on annuity purchase rates available on the day a client makes a purchase payment into LIG. The above income payments for this example were base on annuity purchase rates for males in effect on December 7, 2007.
MetLife was the first to market longevity insurance in the group and retail markets in 2004. LIG is a part of MetLife's family of retirement income solution products, including deferred fixed and variable annuities and optional living benefit riders.
MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the United States and Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Through its domestic and international subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force). The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. For more information, please visit www.metlife.com